Category Archives: Competitions

Brazilians Triumph over Europe’s Elite in Hard-Fought Battle at La Baule

Photo: Yuri Mansur and Vitiki. (FEI/Thomas Reiner)

It took nerves of steel for anchorman Pedro Veniss (35) to clinch the honours for Brazil at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of France in La Baule (FRA). In a contest that came right down to the very last ride of the afternoon he had absolutely no room for error if he was to give his country an historic first-ever win at the Francois Andre Stadium in the beautiful French seaside town, and pin Europe’s elite into the minor placings. But partnering the fabulous 14-year-old stallion, Quabri de l’Isle, he produced a super-cool clear that left the 2017 series champions from The Netherlands in runner-up spot and Switzerland into third.

Veniss admitted he was feeling the pressure when last into the arena, but he knew he could rely on his horse.

“Quabri is my very best friend; he has so much scope and always tries his best for me – that’s the greatest feeling in the world!” — Pedro Veniss (Team Brazil)

The pair has a spectacular track record, having been on the Brazilian sides that finished fifth at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, fourth at the Pan-American Games in Toronto (CAN) in 2015 and fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Team spirit played a big part in Brazil’s success story, but, just like the Swiss who won the first Europe Division 1 leg in Slovakia three weeks ago, things weren’t looking altogether optimistic for them earlier in the week. Veniss’ first choice horse was unable to compete and then Felipe Amaral’s (27) ride came down with an allergy so he also had to change mounts.

But there’s a sense of rising momentum in the Brazilian camp, and Yuri Mansur’s (38) exciting 10-year-old, Vitiki, provided a major boost when clear in the first round in which both Veniss and Luiz Felipe de Azevedo Filho (43) riding Chaccomo collected just a single time fault to leave their country out in front at the halfway stage carrying just two faults. Amaral’s replacement ride, the inexperienced Germanico T, provided the drop score in both rounds.

Mansur’s Vitiki has literally come along in leaps and bounds over the last few months. “I bought him in October and he only jumped his first 1.30m track in November and now he has won the Nations Cup at La Baule – he’s developing so quickly!” said his delighted rider.

It was a super-close finish, Brazil posting a final tally of seven faults with the Dutch on eight and the Swiss on nine. The Netherlands had the satisfaction of collecting the maximum points of the six Europe Division 1 nations chasing points towards the 2018 Final. And their anchorman and new World No. 1, Harrie Smolders (Don VHP Z), took a one-third share of the €50,000 bonus on offer for double-clear rounds along with Spain’s Manuel Fernandez Saro (Cannavaro 9) and Germany’s Maurice Tebbel (Chaccos S).

Spain chased the leading pack all the way to finish fourth on 12 faults, Germany lined up fifth with 14, and Ireland slotted into sixth with 17 faults. It was a disappointing day for the French hosts who had to settle for seventh with 20 faults on the board, while Team Canada lined up eighth and last on a 35-fault total.

The result bodes well for the Brazilians who also finished an impressive second at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of the United States of America at Ocala (USA) in February and who now have the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 in Tryon (USA) clearly in their sights.

For the Europe Division 1 teams, however, their next port of call is St Gallen on Sunday 3 June, where the host nation of Switzerland will be hoping to further boost their lead on the league table with another good result. That’s going to be a busy day of top sport as the third and final qualifier of the North/Central America & Caribbean League also takes place in Langley (CAN).

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

USHJA Hunter Derby Competitions Feature Top Sport at TIEC

Liza Boyd and Clemens. Photo Credit ©TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – May 18, 2018 – The $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby saw Liza Boyd of Camden, SC guide the Finally Farm Inc.’s Clemens through two rounds in Tryon Stadium at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Friday night, scoring a 383 to take the lead in the class for the second year in a row ahead of 20 additional entries. Holly Shepherd of Grand Bay, AL took second place honors aboard Triompf, owned by Loretta Patterson, with a score of 373, while Boyd also rounded out the top three, this time piloting Leonardo Aljure’s Easter to capture third on a score of 366.

The highlight class of the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week showcased top hunter talent under the lights in the iconic Tryon Stadium, with a course designed by Andres Christiansen.

Boyd commented, “I thought that the first rounds were nice for both of the horses today. It was raining quite hard on my first horse, but she was great in it. Clemens won this class last year, so I know he likes this arena and he just jumped amazingly. It was a nice course and a fun class!”

The course design made eloquent use of the space provided within the large arena, featuring several turns and a variety of options. Boyd explained, “It rode pretty much like it walked, which was nice. The one bending line was a little tighter than I realized, but that’s the beauty of having two horses. In the handy, I did one inside turn, but did not do both because I was pretty far ahead. It’s like that factor if you’re in a jumper class: do you really go for it or do you just try to go double clear? In the handy I tried to be under the time allowed and bright enough so that it still reflected well for the judges, but wasn’t extremely risky.”

Boyd has the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships in Kentucky on her list, and credits TIEC and the venue for being the perfect place to prepare for the prestigious competition. “Easter, she was ridden by Roberto Teran before she came to me. She’s for sale and an amazing Derby horse. This is just a great venue to come to because it sets them up nicely with the lights to be prepared for Finals,” she said.

Boyd will also make several more visits to TIEC throughout the coming summer months to make use of the Tryon Summer Series that is so close to her home base of Camden, SC. “We come back here for the summer shows,” she continued. “We are really looking forward to that. There’s a big $50,000 class, so hopefully we make the cut for that.”

With 35 entries presented earlier in the day on the Derby Field at TIEC for the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Sara Taylor of Sherborn, MA piloted Eight Oaks’ So Fun, to victory on a two-round score of 184, scoring 90 and 94. Wakefield, RI native Jennifer Hannan rode Cynthia Sulzberger’s Coeur de Leon to second place on a score of 180.5, and Mary Antonini of New Orleans, LA secured third place aboard her own MTM Making Waves, their two round score totaling 178.5.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Houston Dressage Society Hosts CDI Small Tour Showdown

Bonnie Canter and Fifinella in the CDI2* Prix St. Georges. Photo by Susan J. Stickle.

The Houston Dressage Society’s (HDS) Texas-sized clash of the Small Tour horses at the Shoofly Farm CDI and Houston Dressage Classic I & II in Katy, Texas was a battle for the books.

Adult Amateur Bonnie Canter and professional trainers Nancy Hinz and Marta Renilla duked it out and each took home a win in the CDI2* Prix St. Georges, Intermediaire I and Intermediaire Freestyle April 27-29 at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center.

Canter led the class of 12 competitors in the April 27 CDI2* Prix St. Georges, where she and her own Fifinella GCF captured the win with a 68.824 percent followed by Hinz on Carzanola with a 67.843 percent and Renilla on Rhustler with a 66.569 percent.

It was the 8-year-old Fifinella’s first Prix St. Georges. Canter wasn’t keen to start the mare’s Small Tour career with a CDI, but she was persuaded to do so in order to support HDS and to be a part of the only CDI in the state of Texas.

“It was all my husband’s idea,” she said of her husband Doug, a member of the HDS board of directors. “But the CDI was a great experience. It was fun to watch all the talented pairs at work, particularly since many of them are good friends. We are lucky to have a super well-run show like this, with this level of competition, in our own backyard. A big thank you to HDS, Shoofly Farm and the other sponsors.”

Canter has owned Fifinella, a 15.1-hand, Connemara/Hanoverian cross (ES Fred Astair-South Ridge Bliss) since she was 2 and has trained the mare up the levels herself. In the last two years, they have won a championship at Second Level and two reserve championships at Third and Fourth Levels at the US Dressage Finals.

“I was happy with the ride and really, really proud of Fifi. Looking at the video you can always see things that you’d like to do better. She is just 8 this year so it’s the very early days for her.”

Since the mare has just started competing at PSG, they did not enter the other Small Tour classes at the Shoofly CDI. Instead they entered the Developing PSG class where the pair earned a 68.897 percent on April 29.

“I hope to nudge her up to I-1 toward the end of the year,” she said. “At this point, she needs the strength and we need to tidy up the loose ends before we move up a level.”

Small Tour Showdown Continues with Intermediaire I

On April 28, with 11 in the class, the standings changed and Renilla claimed the blue ribbon in the CDI2* Intermediaire I on Rhustler with a 68.725 percent to edge out Hinz by a quarter of a percentage point.

“Rhustler is a horse that is just getting stronger and stronger,” Renilla said of her 9-year-old American Hanoverian gelding (Rosseau-Rheporter, Royal Prince). “He’s taking longer than other horses. He can do everything Grand Prix but now he’s starting to show off his power in the small tour.”

The pair has represented Spain twice in the Nations Cup in Wellington, Florida, and in 2017, they earned a team bronze medal there. She said he got a tune-up in late March while in Florida, where she trains with Conrad Schumacher.

“I had Nations Cup and then I was able to have the clinic with Conrad,” she said. “That brought me even more feel of what I am looking for and then at the show I had a plan. Rhustler is a horse who needs his mama. When I’m on his back, the world can explode but he has mommy on top. I think when you have that partnership with your horse, it’s very special. I feel very grateful that he gives me his best every time I ride him.”

Renilla said she will continue training the Grand Prix and enter some recognized shows at that level.

“Canter pirouettes are very easy for him and canter zig-zags are a piece of cake,” she said. “He’s very talented for everything. He can do the tempis for Grand Prix effortlessly. He has big suspension and big gaits but he has to learn to get shorter and quicker behind in the piaffe. Because his gaits are so huge, he’s boing, boing. He’s a dancer. He doesn’t know how to trot average.”

Freestyle Shoot-Out

On April 29, the tables turned and Nancy Hinz edged out the others in the Intermediaire Freestyle on Carzanola, her own 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lanola-Tuschinski, Wellington) with a 71.808 percent. Renilla took second place with a 69.933 percent.

“It was really fun,” Hinz said. “It was fun for me because it was good competition. Everybody had good rides and the numbers were close. I had been working really hard to get him ready for the PSG and I-1 and everything paid off. What I like best about that horse is, personality-wise, he is very consistent so I can count on him to do the work he knows how to do. Wherever I take him, it doesn’t matter if it’s inside or outside or noisy or quiet, he’s not reactive to the environment.”

Hinz was quick to praise the HDS for consistently putting on an organized show.

“It’s an amazing group of people. There are a good number helping out and the volunteers are just wonderful. We have some people who don’t even ride who come and learn how to be a ring steward. A mother of one of my students pitches in and she’s not really an animal person and she was happy to run tests to the judges.”

Hinz is particularly fond of the camaraderie of the other professionals at the show and she’s thankful for the support of the competitors as well as her clients. One of her junior riders, Sarah Evans, earned her USDF Bronze Medal at the show on her new horse, Winterstolz.

“She just got him in January and it was her first time competing on him,” Hinz said. “This was her first third level experience. It was just a very exciting weekend for all of us.”

Long-time show sponsor Kimberly Rathmann of Shoofly Farm also had praise for the competitors, show organizers and volunteers.

“It was a great show,” she said. “As always, it was run to perfection. The volunteers work behind the scenes to make it happen and it’s always lovely. We have a wonderful lot of great riders – people coming up to different levels and willing to try things. There’s a lot to be proud of in this group of people.”

Valentino captured blue ribbons in the Grand Prix on both April 27 and 28 with Andrew Phillips aboard.

She was quick to point out that other USDF Group Membership Organizations (GMO) in Region 9 helped contribute monetarily to the show.

“The most important thing about this show is the team of people who put it on,” she said. “They just get it done and it is better every year. We have the most wonderful group of volunteers who work tirelessly – just super-duper nice people. I appreciate HDS. They are just awesome. It’s such a joy to watch people move up and really dance with their partners. I can’t wait until next year.”

For more information, contact:
Chris Renne
President, Houston Dressage Society
president@houstondressagesociety.org

World’s Best Out in Force at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the afternoon action in the Castle Arena, presenting several awards, including the Best Turned Out Trooper and The Challenge Cup and Queen’s Plate for the winners of the Land Rover Services Team Jumping.

Daniel Deusser continued his stellar Royal Windsor form to take the pinnacle of the day’s competition, The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup with Britain’s Guy Williams taking the evening’s Falcon Stakes, much to the delight of the home crowd.

In the Driving, a familiar face sits in pole position of the horse four-in-hand ahead of the cones phase, with eight-time Royal Windsor winner Boyd Exell occupying the top spot.

SHOW JUMPING: DEUSSER AND EQUITA MAKE IT TWO FROM TWO WHILE WILLIAMS POSTS A WIN FOR BRITAIN

Daniel Deusser and Equita Van T Zorgvliet made it two from two on their Royal Windsor debut, winning the feature class of the day The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup.

Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s 1.55m course posed several challenges in the first round, with a difficult line of two doubles catching several combinations out early on and a particularly spooky swan themed fence causing a few problems too. 10 of the 30 starters jumped clear to make it through to the competitive jump-off, which featured many of the world’s best riders.

First to go in the jump-off was the class winner from two years ago, Laura Kraut (USA), riding Catwalk 22, who jumped immaculately to set the standard with a clear round in a time of 38.99. Canada’s Tiffany Foster took over the pole position as fourth to go with a particularly tight turn to fence eight, the swans, to shave 1.87 seconds off Kraut’s time; however, her lead was short-lived as Britain’s Robert Whitaker rode an immaculate round, turning especially tight to the double down the final line to take over the top spot. Next into the arena, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze (CAN) showed that the time could be beaten, riding a very fast round, but the twelve-year-old gelding Chacco Kid clipped the vertical going into the final double to finish on four faults.

With two former world number one riders still to come, Whitaker’s lead was never secure, and Kent Farrington (USA) came close, his nimble chestnut gelding Creedance covering the ground quickly, but with slightly wider turns they finished 0.03 seconds slower. As last to go, Daniel Deusser, riding Equita Van T Zorgvliet, retained his top form, making all the turns and striding out between the fences to post an exceptional time of 35.51 and take the victory, lining up a meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, who presented The King’s Cup to the winner.

Speaking after the presentation, Deusser said, “It’s turning out to be a good show for me this week. I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before! I’m really happy with how it went today. I managed to make a couple of really tight turns, so I thought I was quick, but I knew Robert’s horse was big striding, so I couldn’t relax. The win is extra special as I will now get to meet the Queen, which is a great honour and I am really looking forward to it.”

The highlight of the evening performance, the CSI5* Falcon Stakes, provided top class entertainment with the world’s best riders back in action. Speed was a major factor from the start, with only 10 places available in the jump-off, it was only the fastest of the 16 clear rounds from the first round that made it through. The top ten then returned in reverse order, with the advantage falling to USA’s Laura Kraut as the fastest clear in round one to be the last to go in the jump-off.

Qualifying in tenth position, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano was first to tackle the shortened jump-off course and put the pressure on from start, with his foot flat to the floor throughout and smooth tight turns posting a clear round in 35.75 seconds. Britain’s Scott Brash followed him into the arena and immediately took over the lead with an incredibly slick round, saving time with the tightest of turns, to record a time of 35.40. The lead changed several times before the end; first it was Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, who flew straight out of the gate, making up time across the ground to overtake Brash, with William Funnell (GBR) coming close too, but it was Britain’s Guy Williams as the penultimate to go, who took the victory. Riding the thirteen-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, Williams kept up the pace throughout and pulled off an exceptional turn to the Hermès vertical at the far end to make up 0.36 seconds on Guerdat.

Williams praised his horse following his victory. “He’s a really good horse and I know he’s fast, so with a good draw, I knew I was in with a chance. It’s always good to win on home soil and the crowd here tonight was fantastic, so it’s been a great night.”

SHOWING: PONIES TAKE TO THE FORE

India Till scooped the biggest prize of her career so far when her 128cm show pony, Rotherwood Rainmaker, landed the coveted Martin Collins Enterprises Show Pony Championship title, one of the most sought-after accolades on the pony Showing circuit.

After winning a strong class, the diminutive pair defied the rain to command the Castle Arena, prompting judge D Price Jones to comment: “We were looking for a quality pony that would carry a child safely and prettily. This pony does exactly that.”

A former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) reserve with previous jockey Poppy Carter, the exquisite bay has introduced India to top flight showing, still produced by Poppy’s mother, Katy Carter.

Reserve went to the 148cm victors, Phoebe Price and her 2016 HOYS champion and last year’s HOYS class winner, Litton Enterprise, a 12-year-old produced by Julie Templeton.

The Novice Show Pony Championship title is equally sought-after. This year it fell to Robert Walker’s son Sam, who celebrated his 14th birthday five days earlier, with Julie Rucklidge’s homebred five-year-old 138cm class winner, Jackets Dynasty, also produced by Julie Templeton. The charming bay mare is following in illustrious footsteps, as both her dam, Jackets Maybee, and granddam Jackets Maysong won at Royal Windsor and went on to triumph at HOYS.

After some strong classes, the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship — and coveted ticket to the Heritage Finale at Olympia, The London International Horse Show in December — went to Becki Penny with Lynn Scott’s ultra-consistent homebred Welsh section C stallion, Lynuck The Showman.

Two Connemara ponies dominated the popular Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony classes. Riverside Daffodil, owned and ridden by Renee Nichols, jumped a super round to head the exceeding 143cm division and stand champion, ahead of the exceeding 133cm but not exceeding 143cm class victor, Hearnesbrook New Moon, owned by Phyll Buxton and ridden by Ella Dalton.

DRIVING: EXELL EXCELS IN TRICKY CONDITIONS

In horse four-in-hands, the leader – reigning world champion and winner here eight times – Boyd Exell (AUS) drove surely and confidently in wet conditions, recording the fastest time in five of the obstacles. He won this section and increased his lead to an impressive 20 penalties. His closest challenger at this time is Belgium’s Edouard Simonet whose careful marathon – he was third in the phase – moved him into second place overall, from fifth after the dressage. Father and son competitors from the Netherlands, Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon, the latter competing in horse four-in-hands for the first time here, moved up the leader board to take third and fourth places, respectively, less than one penalty separating them.

Horse pairs saw a change in leader when second placed Beat Schenk from Switzerland moved up to first place ahead of France’s Franck Grimonprez, a member of France’s bronze medal winning team at the 2017 World Horse Pairs Championships in Slovenia. Germany’s Sebastian Warneck, a silver team medallist in Slovenia last year, moved up a place to third.

Positions changed, too, in pony four-in-hands. Overnight leader Tinne Bax (BEL) dropped from first place to third, while Great Britain’s young pony four-in-hand competitor, Roger Campbell, drove an outstanding marathon to win this section and secure him second place ahead of the cones phase. He is less than three penalties behind the new overnight leader Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, who has six previous wins at Royal Windsor with his team of Welsh ponies.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Dujardin Dazzles on Second Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

International competition got well underway on the second day of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The CDI4* Dressage kicked off with the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix which saw Britain’s best duo, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, take the top spots aboard their exciting new partners, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato.

DRESSAGE: BRITISH RIDERS LEAD THE WAY

It might have been only the third grand prix together for Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle but it was another winning one. The pair gained their third victory in The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix with Charlotte heading off trainer, mentor and British team mate Carl Hester with Hawtins Delicato.

Freestyle, a nine-year-old mare owned by Emma Blundell of the Yorkshire based Mount St John stud, belied her main ring inexperience impressing the judges with her ground covering paces and relaxed attitude to the atmospheric arena to produce a winning score of 78.58%.

“I am chuffed to bits with her,” said the British Olympic gold medallist. “She’s so chilled and really takes everything in her stride especially as she has really done next to nothing at this international level – I am so, so happy.”

Carl was equally happy with his ride, the British-bred Hawtins Delicato, who was also competing in only his third Grand Prix and was not far behind the winning score – some judges even had the pair of riders and horses on near equal terms.

“You literally have no idea with these young horses how they will react but this is such a good arena and space and does give you an idea of how they will cope with the big occasion,” said Carl who is aiming Delicato for a team place for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ that will be held in the USA in September. “He is such a lovely horse with so much presence and the judges must, like me, also think highly of him.”

Richard Davison rounded off a British one-two-three, taking third place with his homebred Bubblingh (70.8%) while British riders Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite, and Gareth Hughes with Don Carissimo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Iranian rider and Windsor first-timer Litta Soheila Sohi might have finished at the other end of the leader board but was simply thrilled to be competing at the Show.

“I will never forget this moment,” said Litta, who is aiming to compete in the Asian Games in Jakarta later in the year. “This is no ordinary Show – there is so much going on at the same time; it is overwhelming. Just to be a part of it is as good as winning and I am just thrilled to be through to the freestyle tomorrow night.”

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

Royal Windsor debutante Vikki Smith, from Hapton, Lancs, was as surprised as she was delighted to head the largest section of the Show so far. Riding Michelle Cuerden’s 14-year-old traditional stallion Del Boy, Vikki beat more than 100 entries to take the coveted Coloured Ridden Championship, having topped a line of 35 in her Native and Traditional class.

“I can’t believe a traditional pony could have beaten all the plaited horses,” Vikki said, “but Del Boy is an out-and-out showman and just loves his job.”

She now takes her place in Sunday afternoon’s Royal Windsor Ridden Supreme Showing Championship.

Oxfordshire-based working hunter specialist, Rory Gilsenan, went one better than last year to regain the section title he last won in 2016 with Aoife, the Land Rover Lightweight Working Hunter. His partner this time was Christian Kwek’s versatile mare Kenlis Carrera, class winner and reserve Champion last year, whose fluent clear round was one of only seven over a testing course in a strong Lightweight class. A storming gallop in the Castle Arena finale then clinched the overall title ahead of the Heavyweight class victors, Katy Green and I’m a Diamond, who produced one of only two clears in her division.

Sofia Scott, of Norfolk-based Team Hood, partnered her own former flat racer L’Amiral David to win the ROR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Series, and then stand Champion.

SHOW JUMPING: BRITISH DUO VICTORIOUS ON FIRST DAY OF INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

The opening Show Jumping class of day two, the Land Rover Grades B & C Jumping Competition, went to British Olympic team gold medalist, Ben Maher, riding Eracantos, a horse recently acquired from The Netherlands for which Maher has high hopes for the future. With 12 double clears in the 36 horse class, Maher’s second-half draw proved advantageous as he shaved 0.05 seconds off runner-up Georgia Thame’s round. Tracy Priest, who set the pace from an early draw, finished in third with her grey mare Diamants Aurora.

The first CSI2* Class of the Show, the St George Two Phase, went to Joseph Davison, riding Vilenco, a homebred Je T’Aime Flamenco mare owned by his father, Dressage supremo Richard Davison. Davison’s double clear in a time of 31.20 seconds was 0.14 seconds faster than South African Charles Luyckx in second, with Scarlett Charles, daughter of London Olympic gold medal winning Show Jumper Peter Charles, in third.

Luyckx secured his second runner-up placing of the day in the following class, the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd, which was won by Britain’s Tracy Priest on Caristo VDL. The twisty course allowed riders to take a few risks with tight turns throughout, but it was Priest who negotiated the quickest route to take the victory.

Later in the day, the focus shifted to the young horses of the future, with the Jumping Competition for Six-Year-Old horses. 49 combinations started the 1.20m single phase competition, which proved challenging, with only eight combinations jumping a double clear. William Rekert’s exceptionally speedy round with Hot Bluebird took the spoils, over two seconds faster than Megan James in second, with Alfie Bradstock a further second behind in third.

DRIVING: WORLD-CLASS START FOR WORLD NO.1 IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Reigning world champion and eight times Royal Windsor winner, Boyd Exell (AUS), got off to the best possible start in the Horse Four-in-Hands in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, storming to the top of the leader board a clear five penalties ahead of his closest challenger. Driving his mixed team of black Swedish and Dutch horses, his dressage test earned him top marks from all five judges.

“The horses moved beautifully as a team,” remarked President of the Jury, Bert Jambon from Belgium. He continued, “It was an accurate test with, above all, excellent transitions.”

Following him into the arena was Chester Weber (USA) winner at the Show in 2014 and 2015. His bay Dutch horses completed a fluent, forward test, but a few small mistakes put him in second place. Only these two competitors posted scores in the thirties.

In third place, seven penalties behind Weber, is France’s Benjamin Aillaud with his impressive Arab x Friesians. He last competed here ten years ago, after which he took a break from competing horse four-in-hands until just a couple of years ago. GB’s highest placed competitor is Wilf Bowman-Ripley, in 18th place.

Also completing this first dressage phase were the Pony Four-in-Hands which saw last year’s winner Tinne Bax (BEL) take the lead from the Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, who has recorded five previous Royal Windsor wins. Less than two penalties separate these two with Jacqueline Walter (GER) driving her eye-catching palomino team of Welsh Bs taking third place. Great Britain’s Roger Campbell is well in touch in this class in 5th place.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Interview with Niels Bruynseels, Current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender

Niels Bruynseels riding Gancia de Muze (Photo: Kit Houghton)

What have you been up to since winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters?

“Straight after winning the Rolex Grand Prix I celebrated with my team; we were all so excited! It was a late finish that evening, but because I only live an hour away from the show we went back to my house and continued the celebrations there.

“We went to Paris a week later and came second in the big competition there, but since then my horse has had a bit of a rest. This week she will start competing again as we start our preparations for CHIO Aachen and the next stage of the Rolex Grand Slam.”

Can you tell us a bit about your horse?

“Gancia de Muze is a very special horse; she is a 12-year-old Belgian-bred mare and has a very unique character! She is very stubborn sometimes, and I have to do everything for her otherwise she gets in a bad mood! She receives a lot of special treatment; she has lots of time in the field and because she doesn’t like flat work, so she is lunged and jumped more frequently. She is very set in her ways! But she really loves her job and enjoys herself so much at the events. Every time we compete together, she really fights for me; she has a competitive nature and wants to win!”

Are you planning on attending CHIO Aachen? If so, how are you preparing for the next part of your Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping journey?

“Of course, I plan to ride in the Rolex Grand Prix at Aachen; it is one of my goals to win there. This week I plan go to Madrid and will see how my horse is performing on grass. I have scheduled some competitions on grass, specifically to prepare for the Rolex Grand Prix, with the hope to continue my Rolex Grand Slam journey.”

Do you have any superstitions?

“You could say I do have one superstition… When I arrive at the hotel, I always layout my riding clothes in the same order, separating them out into ‘Day one’, ‘Day two’, and so on. It is a routine that I always go through. Aside from that I don’t have any other superstitions, just hope that my training pays off and I can perform to the best of my ability.”

Can you talk us through your daily routine when training?

“The grooms start at 6.30am; they do the morning feeds and prepare the horses. I arrive at 7.30am to begin riding the horses. Each morning, before I arrive at the stables, I make a plan for the whole day which outlines the team’s responsibilities. We have a total of 25 horses, so it is important that I stay really organized to make sure everything at the yard runs smoothly. I will then spend the day riding seven to eight horses, so I am very busy, but I love it! I concentrate fully on the training of the horses, so the days when I am not competing are completely focused on that.”

How did it feel to win a Major? What was going through your mind?

“Winning a Grand Prix is always nice, but to win a Rolex Major is very unique and so special, the feeling was unreal. The media hype is on a whole different level, and the attention I have received since then is greater than ever. Everybody is focused on the Rolex Grand Slam as it is one of the biggest parts of our sport, so everyone is talking about it which adds to the excitement. It was a magical moment and one of the best in my career so far. I hope there will be more occasions like this!”

If you weren’t a rider, what would you be?

“I have always loved horses; they are my absolute world. So, if I wasn’t a rider I would have to be something that is still horse orientated, therefore I think I would be a horse dealer.”

Do you have any hobbies?

“No hobbies, only horses! If I am at a show and have some free time I enjoy sightseeing and trying the food of the local area, but other than that it’s all about the horses.”

What is your advice for young riders?

“My advice to young riders would be: you can always keep learning from other people. Make sure when you are at events, you are watching the other competitors and seeing how they ride. If you want to improve and progress you shouldn’t rush or be frustrated when you don’t reach the top straight away; it is a step-by-step process and you can never stop learning.”

Do you feel that there is added pressure as the current Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender?

“I don’t feel too stressed right now, but there is certainly a different sort of pressure that comes with being the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender. You are aware of more people talking about it and I have had a lot of people ask me if I am going for the Rolex Grand Slam. It is a different feeling right now, but I am sure at Aachen I will feel the extra pressure as I don’t want to give up my position of live contender!”

What do you want to achieve in your career; what is your dream?

“Aside from winning the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, I want an Olympic gold medal, whether it is with the team or as an individual – that is a big goal for me. I also hope to compete at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon this September and a medal there would be nice too!”

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

A Royal Victory on Opening Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show kicked off in style with a win for Her Majesty The Queen, who was present to enjoy the victory of Whalton Highwayman, ridden by 15-year-old Kinvara Garner. The private grounds of Windsor Castle were resplendent in the sunshine on the opening day of the five-day Show, as the Showing and National Show Jumping took centre stage.

SHOWING: HM THE QUEEN’S HORSE SHINES ON OPENING DAY OF ROYAL WINDSOR

Kinvara Garner took the Part Bred and Anglo Arab Championship, having headed a good 148cm class on HM The Queen’s 11-year-old Whalton Highwayman.

“This is his second Royal Windsor,” said Kinvara. “He has only been out twice before but has qualified for the Royal International Horse Show as a Show Hunter pony, and also as a Part Bred Arab. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the season started.”

Cheshire showman, Robert Walker, won his fourth Cuddy Hunter title against stiff competition, this time riding Jill Day’s outstanding lightweight View Point.

Local rider Jayne Ross won the Small Hunter, sponsored by Rosettes Direct, on Kay Campbell’s five-year-old Church Rock Cashel, attending only his third Show.

“I thought he would be next year’s horse,” said Jayne. “I am so surprised and delighted for him to win.”

The Amateur Hunter Championship title went to a former ladies’ winner, Time 2 Reflect, ridden this year by her owner Lucy Cameron.

SHOW JUMPING: LAURA RENWICK AND GEORGIA THAME MAKE IT LADIES’ DAY AT ROYAL WINDSOR

Britain’s leading lady, Laura Renwick, got the Show Jumping at Royal Windsor off to a flying start, winning the Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter – First Round, a two-phase National competition, with a double clear in a time of 34 seconds. Riding Arkuga, a seven-year-old homebred by Arko, out of her former top mare Beluga, Renwick used her international experience in the prestigious Castle Arena to knock over a second off the time of runner-up Charlie White.

The top twelve six-year-old horses from the Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter qualified for The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship later in the day, a class which was won by Australian Rowan Willis, riding Hadyvola. The 1.30m course proved demanding for the novice horses, with only four combinations jumping clear, but Willis’ tight turn to an oxer approaching the final line made all the difference as he stormed to a four second victory.

The biggest class of the day, The 1.40m Land Rover Grades A & B Jumping Competition, went to Georgia Thame with Z7 Qamar. 15 of the 43 starters went through to the second phase against-the-clock, however speed proved the downfall of many, with only four managing to produce a rare double-clear. As second to go in the arena, Marie-Louise Thomas set the pace early on, producing a lovely clear in 35.90 seconds; however, Thame took the lead midway through the class with a time of 31.46 seconds, which proved unbeatable. Keith Doyle, riding Harlequin Dunraven, came close, but his double clear in 32.07 seconds was only good enough for second place.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

WEQx Games Competition List Announced

Athlete Inquiries Now Open and Must Be Received by Tuesday, May 15

Tryon, NC – May 8, 2018 – Mark Bellissimo and the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) announced that athlete inquiries are now open for the first annual 2018 WEQx Games™. In the inaugural year, the competition intends to have nine spectator-friendly equine competitions that highlight the accessibility, diversity, athleticism, and passion for horses and horse sport for athletes of all ages. The goal over time is to expand the WEQx Games™ to include a broad range of diverse competitions each year. The 2018 WEQx Games™ will be held alongside the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) this September 11-23, which is also being hosted by TIEC. Athletes are invited to compete to become the inaugural 2018 WEQx Games™ and/or U.S. Open champion.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has approved the WEQx Games™ concept as a further enhancement for spectators attending the WEG and to generally promote interest in equestrian sport. The U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) is working with the organizer to ensure that all aspects of the WEQx Games™ meet the FEI and USEF requirements and following the response to this expression of interest, the organizer will submit the full details of the WEQX Games™ to the USEF Board of Directors for approval.

A total of nine competitions are planned for the inaugural WEQx Games™. Equestrian athletes interested in competing in any of the events must register their interest in participating by May 15, 2018. Details of the competition and qualifying information will be available shortly at the following link: www.Tryon2018.com/WEQxGames.

Organizer will assess the final competition schedule and qualifying information based on interest from exhibitors. All Jumping competitions are national classes and as such, entries are restricted by the provisions of FEI General Regulations Article 101 (maximum of four National Federations and/or a maximum of 15 foreign athletes). Entry fees will vary based on prize money of competitions and will not exceed all inclusive $1,250.

Proposed competitions and prize money are as follows:

U-25 U.S. Open Championship™ – The two class competition over two days during the 2018 WEG and will highlight the Show Jumping world’s up and coming riders under 25 years of age. Total prize money over the two days will be $50,000. The U-25 U.S. Open Champion™ will be crowned.

U.S. Open Speed Horse™ – A 1.40m, two-team relay featuring 32 two-person teams will navigate an Alan Wade course to compete for $100,000. Riders can create their own 2-person teams. Qualifying course and the final course will be the same and will be available for practice.

DERBYx™ – A derivative Hunter competition will be open to 24 competitors that will compete for a $100,000 prize. The optimum time competition will have 15 jumps and be objectively scored based on set criteria.

Battle of the Sexes – A three-event jumping competition featuring a 1.30m match race, speed class and relay with 10 men versus 10 women from the U.S. Ranking List among non-WEG participants or non-WEG reserves. The competition will highlight the only Olympic sport where men compete with women as equals. The teams will compete for $75,000 in prize money.

Match Race – A 1.30m competition where two riders face off in the ring over a mirrored course. Standard FEI rules to apply – two second faults converted, open to 24 competitors. Riders compete for a $50,000 prize.

Puissance – A horse and rider’s ability to clear a single fence that increases in height after each round – to as much as seven feet and is limited to four rounds. Riders compete for a $50,000 prize.

Six Bar – A challenge where the horse and rider jump a series of six vertical fences placed in a straight line with two strides between each fence. The six fences are progressively higher from fence one through six and are all raised after each round. Riders will compete for a $50,000 prize.

Pony Jumpers –  A competition where the top children of the sport compete for a $10,000 prize.

Gladiator Polo™ – A professional three-on-three arena polo match with modified rules that keep the play fast. The event is played in a ring with all-weather footing that is approximately 310 feet x 250 feet, which is one-tenth the size of a typical grass polo field. Four international teams will compete for $100,000 in prize money.

The WEQx Games™ concept and competitions have been approved by the FEI and the USEF Board of Directors with the intent to grow interest in horse sport.

To register an interest to participate, riders or trainers must send an email to WEQXGAMES@tryonweg.com by May 15, 2018.

To learn more about the 2018 WEQx Games™, please visit www.Tryon2018.com/WEGxGames.

Leslie Burr-Howard and Donna Speciale Best Field in $70k Tryon Resort Grand Prix CSI 2

Leslie Burr-Howard and Donna Speciale. Photo Credit ©Sportfot & TIEC.

Mill Spring, NC – May 5, 2018 – An electric atmosphere came to a hush at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) on Saturday night, as Leslie Burr-Howard (USA) and Donna Speciale took to Tryon Stadium as the final combination in the jump-off round of the $70,000 Tryon Resort Grand Prix CSI 2*. The duo leapt to a fast, first place finish to revive the highly anticipated “Saturday Night Lights” competition and mark the first FEI show jumping victory of the 2018 season.

A total of 45 combinations took to the arena to contest the Richard Jeffery (GBR) designed course, with only eight returning to take their turn around the fast track. The field saw a battle until the very end, with Howard and the 2008 Dutch Warmblood mare (Cavalier x Concorde) claiming the blue ribbon after securing the fastest time as the last pair on course for the evening, stopping the timers in 42.167 seconds.

“I thought Richard [Jeffery] did a great job,” Howard explained of the night’s track. “It’s a sign of a good course when you have somewhere between six to eight clean. It’s a nice number. I think he did a great job because he had a bit of a mixed bag of horses. There were some young horses, some older horses, some young riders and I think he did well to get the eight clean that he did.”

Second place honors went to Ireland’s Paul O’Shea aboard Tequestrian Farms, LLC’s 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding, Imerald Van’t Voorhof (Emerald Van’t Ruytershof x Bacardi-Orange de Muze), after racing around the jump-off track in 42.374 seconds. Third place was captured by Catherine Tyree (USA) and Mary Tyree’s Catungee, a 2006 Holsteiner gelding (Contact Me x Liatos), completing their round in 42.534 seconds.

Howard and the mare, owned by Laure Sudreau-Rippe and Peter Howard, rode to the top of the leaderboard just two-tenths of a second ahead of O’Shea, who was then knocked into second place. Despite the speed, Howard noted that she didn’t necessarily have one particular spot in the jump-off that shaved off time and credited the mare for her overall quickness.

“She is a very fast horse across the ground,” Howard said. “If you counted strides everywhere, I probably did more strides than the ones that were second and third, but she is such a quick horse that I knew I could have the luxury of not feeling like I had to leave out a stride in every line.”

The duo just returned from a light yet successful winter show season in Wellington, Florida, where they were the victors during the eleventh week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival. Howard, who still considers the mare a less experienced competitor, intends to ask for more from the talented young mount as the summer progresses.

“I showed her very sparingly in Florida because I’m breaking her into the 1.60m level. I didn’t do a lot with her because I consider her to still be young. She’s ultra-careful, ultra-fast. We have a lot coming up in the summer, so I went for an easy Florida with good results before coming here. We will go to Lexington next week, then a month off, then off to Calgary.”

Howard concluded by complimenting the facility at TIEC and the atmosphere as a whole. She commented, “They’re doing an amazing job with the facility. I have to say tonight the footing was lovely. They’ve done a great job. It’s a great atmosphere here and they’re turning this into a world-class venue very quickly, probably faster than they thought they would be!”

To learn more about TIEC, please visit www.Tryon.com.

Lambre Stamps His Name on First Week of 2018 FEI Jumping CSI 2* Competition at TIEC

Santiago Lambre and Doloris. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – May 3, 2018 – The Tryon Spring I CSI 2* kicked off this week at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) with an FEI victory for Mexico’s Santiago Lambre and Doloris, continuing a competitive first week of international jumping at the venue. Lambre started the week with a blue ribbon in the FEI $6,000 Power & Speed 1.40m CSI 2* aboard D’Artagnan, and came out strong once again in the $35,000 1.45m Welcome Stake CSI 2* to secure top honors.

Lambre and his Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Colinda D) blasted through the Richard Jeffery (GBR) designed track with a quick round, stopping the clock in 38.11 seconds and besting the class of 64 original horse-and-rider combinations.

Lambre has had the ride on the mare since she was a six-year-old and began competing her about a year and a half ago. With both consistent and impressive performances, the pair has continued their success this season, having notched five top five CSI finishes last fall at the venue, while tossing two champion placings into the mix as well.

A total of 13 entries contested the jump-off, while Lambre rode three different horses in the class. At the conclusion, it was Doloris who ultimately returned to prove her place at the top of the class. The final ride of the day went to Carlos Ramirez (COL) aboard his own 2007 Belgian Warmblood stallion Happy Wandor Van’t Roosakker (Wandor van de Mispelaere x V Cento).

The duo nearly took the lead, finishing just tenths of a second behind Lambre to receive second place honors with a jump-off time of 38.76 seconds. Third place was captured by Ireland’s Richie Maloney, who piloted Equinimity LLC’s Belgian Warmblood gelding Merqusio (Cicero Z x Flamenco de Semilly) to a jump-off time of 39.04 seconds.

For more information on TIEC, please visit www.Tryon.com.